EPISODE 36: Erin Barnett, TV Host of “Living East Tennessee” on Knoxville’s ABC Affiliate WATE

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Now, meet TODAY’S guest:

Last fall there was much buzz in Knoxville TV-land. A new show was coming to the local ABC affiliate called “Living East Tennessee.” One of the moms at my daughter’s school is an anchor for the station, so we often watch her on WATE, plus decades ago, I went to college speech camp with Steve Osunsami, who is a regular contributor to ABC World News Tonight. I don’t know about you, but I like to support the people I know whenever I can. So when there’s a new show on a network I enjoy watching, I pay attention.

One of “Living East Tennessee’s” two co-hosts is my guest today, the lovely and talented Ms. Erin Barnett.

I met Erin Barnett a couple weeks ago at the Harbour’s Gate fundraising luncheon where she was the emcee – because she also works on their Board of Directors. Of course, being a TV host, she did an awesome job emceeing the event. As an emcee and professional speaker myself, I congratulated her on a job well-done, thanked her for some tickets my husband and I won from her show a few months back (see that story and photo below!), and we got to talking.

Today I’m thrilled she will be in studio because the work she is doing is work I’d like to do myself someday – hosting a TV show. So you KNOW I’m going to have some very specific questions about how she got started!

Erin calls herself, “a small town girl.” She grew up in a big family near her grandfather’s farm in Southwestern Virginia and attended Concord University in West Virginia. Her television career spans more than a decade, previously working as a reporter and anchor at WSLS in Roanoke, Virginia and WVNS in Beckley, West Virginia, as well as being the morning show anchor for six years for another network in Knoxville.

In addition to being a TV show host, Erin Barnett is a mom of a two-year old, little boy. She says her passion for people brings her the most joy. Life at home for her is all about faith, family, home-cooked meals, and you can’t forget a glass of sweet iced tea. On “Living East Tennessee” they get to showcase the people who have big hearts and open arms with uplifting stories from our neighbors who are doing the most good. (Sounds a bit like the “How Did You Get Started Show” – sharing stories of people doing work they love to do while serving others!)

Now about that story I promised and the contest I won…

Because of the time of day “Living East Tennessee” airs (3-4 PM weekdays), I don’t usually get to watch it, given

I’m generally in the car wearing my Mom chauffeur hat. But I happened to catch one of their first episodes where they had a contest to give away tickets to a super fun roaring 20s speakeasy-style party to celebrate 100 years of the Tennessee Theater. I won and my husband and I had a FABULOUS evening wearing our period-attire and dancing the night away doing the Charleston on the stage of the grandest theater in town.